Like all outdoor summer festivals, the Stanford Powwow has food stands with burgers, hot dogs, lemonade, and kebabs. But in addition to these classics, the food vendors at Powwow bring a few unique things to the table—loyalty, history, and frybread.
Dozens of food vendors come to Powwow each year, and each must submit the reason they want to come to Powwow with their vendor application. Some from outside the Native community make a point to bring at least a few employees who have never been to Powwow, so that they get to experience the unique and “deeply rich” Native culture. Some are active in charity work with groups like the Native American Veterans throughout the year. Some have been coming to Powwow for ten, fifteen, twenty years. Some truly bring a piece of Native history and culture with them.
Terri Roman-Gilvin is the owner of Roman Nose Indian Tacos and Frybread. The stand is named after Roman Nose, Terri’s great great great grandfather on her Southern Cheyenne side (she is half Southern Cheyenne and half Choctow). Roman Nose was a war chief who refused to sign any U.S. treaties throughout the mid-1800s. He was revered and loved within his tribe, as well as respected as a war strategist by the U.S. military. Terri’s booth plays a special role in keeping Native history and culture alive at Powwow. If not for the direct link to history, stop by her booth for some Frito pie—chili, cheese, and onions over corn chips.
Before you delve into my guide to the must have eats at Powwow 2015, be sure to read up on one of the staples of Native cuisine—frybread. Frybread is a flat dough that is fried or deep fried in oil, shortening, or lard. It originated when Native Americans were being placed on reservations and could no longer access their traditional foods through hunting, fishing, and gathering. They used some of the minimal supplies issued at the reservations to come up with frybread, which is now eaten alone or as the base to various meals, snacks, and desserts.
Check out the guide to some of the standout food choices at Powwow, but better yet, go and discover what tastes the best for yourself!
Ear-Good Corn Company
What it is: “All natural, tasty snacks that provide customers a health alternative to standard festival fare.” This stand uses special roaster for corn and potatoes that roasts them in the corn and husk.
What to eat: Roasted Corn; Baked Potato
Seymart Fish & Chicken
What it is: A lot of delicious seafood for ten dollars or less.
What to eat: Red snapper
What it is: A vendor that works at events and does charity work with the Native community (and has delicious traditional food).
What to eat: Menudo soup (Mexican beef stomach and red chili pepper soup); Special breakfast: bacon, potatoes, eggs, and fry bread. Only served on Saturday!
The Roasted Corn
What it is: An old favorite—The Roasted Corn has been coming to Powwow for 12 years, stays open the latest of all vendors, and gives their leftover cook food away for free.
What to eat: Corn is a good bet.
What it is: A stand with a large menu of traditional foods, many of which they have unique interpretations of (see below).
What to Eat: Fresh strawberries with whipped cream on frybread; Buffalo burgers (on bun or fry bread, with or without cheese); Indian dog (hot dog wrapped in frybread and deep fried)
Roman Nose Indian Tacos and Frybread
What it is: Terri Roman-Gilvin’s stand, named in honor of war chief Roman Nose.
What to Eat: Frito pie (chili, cheese, and onions over corn chips)
Honorable mentions: These vendors all provide staples of Native cuisine, like frybread and Indian tacos, but often with their own creative twist. Don’t forget to check out Wailaki’s Indian Tacos, the dark chocolate frybread turnover at Wildhorse Native American Association, and the pumpkin frybread at Wahpepah’s Kitchen.